I absolutely love the bounty of fruit available in the summertime, especially stone fruits and berries that just don’t have the same flavor and sweetness when they aren’t in season. Plus, stone fruits like plums, peaches, and apricots are perfect for grilling because they are sturdy enough to keep their shape, and sweet enough to get the perfect caramelized edge from a hot grill.
We don’t have a grill in our apartment, so I improvise by grilling in a dry skillet over hot heat. I used this method for the plums and red onion in this salad, and they ended up having a lovely char. To balance the sweetness from the plums, the salad is dressed in a tart white balsamic vinaigrette that brings it all to life. Baby kale and easy grains add texture and substance, and lastly, fresh dill tops it off with a burst of flavor.
Some toasted walnuts or crumbled vegan feta would be a great addition to this salad. We ate ours for a light, refreshing dinner on a hot evening, but it makes for a unique and complex side dish as well. It couldn’t be simpler to make, and something about it made us feel like we were eating like kings! (very healthy kings!)
Take advantage of the gorgeous flavors available during this fleeting season with this simple and bright salad!
1 cup grain of choice (we used a grain mix of Israeli couscous, quinoa, and orzo, but farro, barley, or quinoa would also work really well)
1/2 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
4-5 plums (you could also use apricots or pluots!), pitted and quartered
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 big handfuls baby kale
1/4 cup chopped dill
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add vegan butter and stir until melted. Add grain and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer covered for 10-20 minutes (depending on the grain — check out the package instructions), or until all of the water has been absorbed and the grain is fluffy. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a measuring cup, whisk together white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, toss plums and red onion slices with 1/4 of the vinaigrette. Place a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, place plums flesh side down and onion slices in the skillet. Let brown for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are evenly browned on all sides. Remove from pan and roughly chop grilled plums and onions. In a serving bowl, combine cooked grains, baby kale, plums, onions, and the remaining vinaigrette and toss until evenly coated. Garnish with dill and serve warm or room temperature.